Health concerns over father due to be removed from UK

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A father who is due to be removed from the UK will fly with medics because of fears he may have a stroke on the plane.

Sangarapillai Balachandran, an Australian citizen, has had three strokes in the last six years.

The 60-year-old, who came to the UK in 2007, expects to be flown to Australia with his wife, son and two daughters on Monday.

Mr Balachandran’s family have said that four medics will join him on the long-haul flight to monitor his condition.

The Home Office has said that medics will travel with Mr Balachandran on Monday but have not confirmed the number given by his family.

In February, Mr Balachandran and his family took voluntary departure from the UK but were taken off the flight due to him being unwell.

His son Pranavan, 23, told the Press Association: “Once he got on the plane, we noticed that he wasn’t responding to us like he normally would.

“(He) started sweating and we started to see the same symptoms that we saw before when he had his previous strokes, so we asked the airline attendant what we should do, and they came down and they asked him some questions, and then they told all of us to get off the flight.”

The aborted attempt in February was the second time in three months that the family had agreed to go back to Australia. In December 2017, the family did not make it as far as the airport after noticing their father’s symptoms.

The Home Office has said that Mr Balachandran has received an independent medical assessment and had been deemed fit to fly on Monday.

The spokesman said: “The Balachandran family have exhausted their leave to remain status in the UK and have agreed to return to Australia voluntarily.”

Sangarapillai Balachandran (centre) is due to fly from the UK with his family on Monday.
Sangarapillai Balachandran (centre) is due to fly from the UK with his family on Monday.

After Mr Balachandran’s work visa expired the family applied for indefinite leave to remain, which was initially denied by the Home Office in June 2013.

The family then lost an appeal in April 2015 on the grounds that there was “no reason why they should not go back to Australia” and the decision to remove them was upheld.

Pranavan, his mother Shanthy, 53, and his sisters Karthika, 30, and Sinthuja, 28, are also Australian citizens and are all due to fly on Monday.

The family, whose case was highlighted by The Guardian on Saturday, have been holed up in a hotel near Heathrow Airport since September 28, awaiting the flight.

Pranavan told the Press Association: “Right now we’ve come to the end of the line. If something happens on the flight and he needs to get off, we go homeless again.

“If we get on this flight, and say he does have a stroke, it’s a 27-hour flight, they just can’t get medical attention to him.

“And it’s not like, say, a broken leg, which can be fixed. A stroke, you need medical attention in a hospital.

“That’s why I don’t understand why the Home Office is sending four medics. I don’t even know what one can do, let alone four.”

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